Phrase completion scales: A better measurement approach than Likert scales?

David Hodge, David F. Gillespie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Valid and reliable measures are fundamental to advancing social science. Phrase completion scales were designed to provide enhanced psychometrics compared to Likert scales by more closely conforming to foundational measurement and statistical assumptions. This article tests the two approaches by examining responses (N = 134) to items formatted using the Likert approach with comparable items formatted using the phrase completion approach. An assessment of the written comments, Cronbach's alphas, inter-item correlations, factor scores, and SEM coefficients suggested that items constructed in the phrase completion format may yield higher validity and reliability relative to Likert constructed items. The advantages of phrase completion scales may be particularly pronounced when measuring attitudes that fall at all points along the underlying attitudinal continuum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Social Service Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 22 2007


  • Index construction
  • Likert scales
  • Measurement
  • Phrase completion scales
  • Survey research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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